Strictly Come Dancing finalist Pamela Stephenson chats Brazilians, Billy Connolly and sensual style ahead of Brazouka tour

“Who needs James Jordan when I’ve got 16 Brazilian dancers I can dance with every day?”

This was the saucy admission former Strictly Come Dancing finalist Pamela Stephenson made when chatting to SWL about new dance show Brazouka which opens at the New Wimbledon Theatre tomorrow.

The 64-year-old revealed that after her hugely successfully stint on the BBC flagship programme she embarked on a dance journey to find a style that was inclusive yet sensual.

She explained: “Even if you forget that I had done Strictly I was still searching for something. I wanted to find a dance that was comfortable, beautiful and sensual.

“I wanted to find a safe environment for dancers of all shapes, sizes and ages.

Brazouka   - cJohnny van Bergen

“When I had a go it felt very inclusive. It’s not a dance just for the very young and you don’t feel marginalised like might do at a salsa or a tango club.

“I just really loved the sensual nature of it – you start dancing with one guy and then you twirl into someone else and start dancing with them. I thought that was pretty cool.”

After watching open-mouthed as the professionals strutted their stuff on the dance floor she decided there and then to bring the troupe to the UK.

She added: “I thought it was amazing. We see the same dances on the TV and in shows and thought ‘wouldn’t it be great to bring something that is equally watchable and equally good to the UK?’

“I brought six Brazilian dancers to London, got them in a dance studio with Arlene and asked them to dance.

“She saw them and I asked her ‘am I making a huge mistake here or is this really special?’

“She said ‘in all my years of dancing I have never anything like this’. She was thrilled and I knew then that we definitely had something.”

Brazouka - Braz dos Santos and partner

Pamela, Arlene and founder of Burn the Floor Harley Medcalf, created a unique dance-drama which introduces audiences to the dance lambazouk and other Afro-Brazilian dances.

But not content with merely putting on a great dance show, Pamela was also keen to interweave a heartfelt story.

“I want to feel emotion when I watch a show. I want to watch and then feel something,” she explained.

“The story is about a fisherman who has to provide for his family and follows his journey of becoming a dancer.

“It’s done in a very contemporary way, including martial arts and football, and has a great clubby feel to it, with some amazing Rihanna and Michael Jackson remixes, which makes it a great night out.”

Following its world premiere at the Edinburgh Festival this summer Brazouka will start its world tour at the New Wimbledon Theatre.

Husband Billy Connolly lent his support to the project by narrating the show and making the pre-show announcements.

At first it was mainly women who told all their friends and they loved it, especially the cast, and they were always standing up at the end and swaying to the music,” Pamela explained.

“The women came first and brought the guys with them who were initially reluctant, but when they say the fabulous girls and the football, martial arts and music they loved it too!”

Brazouka will be at The New Wimbledon Theatre from September 16 – 20.

For more information, and to buy tickets, click here.

Pamela Stephenson picture courtesy of Johnny van Bergen, with thanks

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